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Somalia: Armed Conflict

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on Islamist forces allegedly taking control of bases in Mogadishu vacated by departing Ethiopian troops. (249832)

[holding answer 20 January 2009]: The security situation in south central Somalia remains extremely challenging following the withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops. It is difficult to verify the divergent reports emerging from Mogadishu. However, on 16 January, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) released a press statement saying that, contrary to some press reporting, areas vacated by the Ethiopian troops have now been occupied by Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) forces, who are working together under the Djibouti peace process. Ethiopia's withdrawal presents a security challenge, but it also offers an opportunity for progress towards a Somali-led, long-term political solution to the conflict.